tv Face the Nation CBS October 28, 2012 5:00pm-5:30pm PDT
>> schieffer: welcome back to "face the nation." joining me our megapanel of some of the best political journalists in the business. ruth marcus is an editorial writer for the "washington post." and columnist mark leibovich writes for the "new york times magazine." and it wouldn't be a political panel without our own john dickerson. on the other side, bob shrum, longtime democratic consultant, now a contributor for the the "daily beast." and john fund writes for the conservative magazine "national review." you know, we've got to talk about the weather this morning, folks. i thought this would be the one thing that wouldn't be entering into this campaign that has a little of of everything else. ruth, what do you think the impact of this thing could be? >> who knew the october surprise was going to be a hurricane? we've had everything else in this campaign. why not that. i think the really interesting phenomenon with the hurricane, or frankenstorm, or whatever we're going to end up calling
it, is its intersection with this other new tom none, which is early voting. we don't really have election day in america anymore. we have election month. and the democrats have actually been a little bit ahead of republicans in 2008, and possibly this cycle. they've certainly been feeling very good about their early voting turnout operation, get out the vote is not just get out the vote on election day. and so to the extent that the hurricane interferes with that ability in states with early voting and we expect maybe 40% of votes could be early votes this election cycle. that's extraordinary to the extent it interfears, you could already hear david axelrod expressing concern this morning. that could be a problem for democrat democrats will. >> schieffer: bob shrum, the traditional thinking is, old people efficient weather is bad-- >> i resemble that remark, too, bob. >> schieffer: they might not bible to get to the polls. and generally it's the zealots who turn out in the worst weather. they're the ones who make sure
they get there. >> i think older voteres, unless they're in a really tough situation are going to go vote because it's almost their avocation. it's a hobby to go vote, not just an obligation. the obama organizational advantage-- and i think he has a real one-- may work out here not in the early voting but in terms of getting people to the polls in the end. i think they have the most in-depth, extensive organization in the history of country. but there's another factor here which is if this storm is bad enough and if tens of millions of people are without power and the seawalls have been breached in new york city, the president's got to get off the campaign trail. he's got to go run the country. that leaves mitt romney in a kind of odd position at that point, too, because he can't look like he's just campaigning. >> schieffer: what does he do, join the national guard? ( laughter ). >> he doesn't want to look like he's faking it and getting in the president's way. you saw john mccain raise the bar for the president. saying remember john mccain suspend-- he did it a couple of times, but one for hurricane
gustav, a knocked a day off the republican convention to try to create a sense of "i'm president." one of the things important about taking the president off the campaign trail in terms of this early vote question, when want president ams can to town he's fly paper and gets people there to the events. what do the campaigns do? they turn those people into solterlz who will then go knock on dispersants on that final push at the end. they also turn them into votes in some states. i was in ohio this week. they were bussing them from the event to the early polling place where the, where the romney forces were watching to see how big of a turnout they got. if he is not on the trail to have that activity happen, then the early voting has to happen by its own but without that strong push from the candidate. >> they will send bill clinton, michelle obama. they will have other people to do this. >> schieffer: john what, about that? the president can't be out there on the stump if there are people whose lives are in danger? >> no, on the other hand, if you're exercising political leadership from the white house, that shows you're in command and
in charge. i think it also can show people he's a strong active incumbent. there's another political storm i worry about, bob, and it's one we can't predict because it's happened before in florida 2000. if this election is close enough, we could be going to recounts, justly, florida, and not just in one state but several states. we now have 10,000 lawyers monitoring the polls this election. and i fear that with provisional ballots and absentee ballots and all these other things ruth talked about, we my not have a winner on wednesday. and the one thing all of us should hope for is the voters make this decision and it doesn't go to the lawyers and the judges. >> amen. >> that's the first time i've ever agreed with you. >> i'm with you, too, on that. i do think, obviously, the weather is the big "x" factor. and i agree with what you said and with what senator mccain said. this could be a presidential moment for barack obama. he could step back and show a transcendent level of leadership that goes beyond an individual event cancellation, especially
and it hits-- i think people will be looking at him acting in a political way. does virginia get more attention than new york? does it go into ohio? you know, on the other hand, does the romney headquarters in boston lose power? they're very, very little things that actually could have a very, very big effect at this point. >> the president knows what the president's supposed to do in a hurricane, right. you don't just look out the plane window upon you try not to disrupt it, but you look as involvedded as possible and deploy and do it as well as possible. what does the candidate do? and the opposition candidate do in the event of a hurricane? we don't actually really have a great guide post for this. we haven't had a natural disast ther proximate to election day. he can't be going around completely attack the commander in chief, can he, when barack obama is the one who is making sure the sebastian are getting stacked. i think i think it's a little bit of a conundrum. >> schieffer: another thing
that just came up and that is virginia. virginia is one of those places, because it is on the east coast, where the president and mitt romney may not be able to get to during this. they may not be able to get to it before the election if this storm hits. >> the surrogate can't get there either. i think we should explain why democrats may be disadvantaged on the early vote if it kind of comes to a halt. what the democrats are trying to do, if you lookt polls, the president does much better with registered voters than likely voters. leave aside the debate of the polleds which hazy gotten quite vigorous, democrats tend to have difficulty turning out their base as the republicans have. when you can vote for a month long and target the low-propensity voteres, democrats have been targeting those people who just don't always go and vote in midterms. they just vote in presidentials. if they can get all those people to turn out, that's good. the number of days you lose because of the weather to turn out those people who don't normally turn out. that's a challenge. that's why it's a little more of
a challenge for the democrats. >> schieffer: one thing governor mcdonald in virginia is saying he will give priority to getting the power on in the voting places. so-- >> there's a human tragedy here that we ought to knowledge that's going to happen and call on the president to do this not just because it's politically the right thing to do because it's the right thing food you hold that job. you then get into the politics of this. southwest virginia is probably the heart of the republican strength in the state, going to get a massive snowstorm out of this. and so they're going to have to clear that up. and i think it's absolutely right. if it look likes will the president's paying more attention to northern virginia than he is to southwest virginia, that will immediately become an issue. romney,ening the only thing romney can do at that point is go around and give a positive speech about where he wants to take the country. he cannot look like he's attacking the president. he cannot look like he's exploiting this. i mean, one of the reasons in your debate, by the way, you served up a big fastball on libya, that i think romney ran away from it was because in the
47% tape there was a little-noticed passage where romney referred to desert 1, the rescue mission in iran where we lost eight service members and said, if something like that happens, i'm going to be prepared to take advantage of it." i think the president had that line. i think the romney people worried he had that line and it would have been a devastating moment. romney right now is trying to make himself moderate mitt. he is in the midst of a moderate makeover. if the president is off the campaign trail he has to act very carefully. >> schieffer: minnesota poll out today, "star tribune" has the race within the margin of error in minnesota. now, we've been hearing some of the romney people who said from the beginning that they thought they had a chance in minnesota. the president is still doing well with independent voters out there. but governor romney seems to be closing the gap when it comes to women voters. again we get back, ruth, to this whole deal of what's happening with the women's vote.
>> it's certainly true in the swing states the president is ahead in more swing states than governor romney. however, the president's job approval rating and his number in all of these states is below 50%. that is a danger signal. >> that's not true. it's generally 50% or more. >> no, it's not. >> it is. >> >> i'm having flash backs to debates, guys. >> i won't interrupt you, if you don't interrupt me. >> we should get a lawyer to litigate this. >> schieffer: go ahead. >> if you go to realclearpolitics.com it's 47%, 48% for the president. that's a danger signal for him. in addition, since the denver debate, independent voters have continued to move to governor romney, and independent voters are, of course, the deciders. i believe that the president has to do a little better both in the swing states and nationally. as an incumbent, if you don't support him now or you're undecide, you're not likely to get those voters on election
day. >> that's wrong. i mean, nate silver who modeled all of this, and who i think has done a pretty good job of this, estimates of the undecided voters in the swing states right now, slightly over 50% are probably likely in the end those to vote for the president. if you look at virginia, bob, this new poll the "washington post" has in virginia, the gender gap has opened up again. the problem we have is there are so many polls. we are living in a poll-littered universe that we tend to lose sight of the fundamentals. the fundamentals are the president has a structural advantage? the battleground states. needs to carry far fewer of them as governor romney, has many more route to 270. and secondly, he does have a superior organization on the ground that's been deeply root paired long time. this has been outsourced by the romney campaign to the rnc. >> schieffer: i'll leath john respond and then we'll take a break. >> there are a lot of outside groups out there getting the vote out for both sides. so i don't think you can just look at the party elements.
as for the 50 pthe president is below 50% in ohio. he's below 50% in almost all of the swing states. is it you stay at 50%, you stay out of office. >> in the cbs poll in ohio, he's four points ahead. >> but below 50. >> we shouldn't cherry pick-- >> below 50. thage of all the polls still shows him below 50. >> he is at 50% nationally. >> schieffer: if you guys get in a fight when we take a break i'm not going to break it up. you'll have to finish it. >> four more years! four more years! i want to be prepared for the long haul. i see a world bursting with opportunities. india, china, brazil, ishares, small-caps, large-caps, ishares. industrials. low cost. every dollar counts.
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let's invest in our teachers... ...so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. >> schieffer: and we're back now. ruth marcus, i want to get back to this business about the women's vote. no question, the president had a big lead there. and there's no question that has closed. why do you think that is? >> well, i think to the extent that it's closed-- and i don't want to revise the debate about how much it's closed-- that reflects governor romney's solid and moderate-sounding performance in the debates. and i think to the-- and also to the extent that it's closed, it reflects the larger closure of the polls and the narrowing overall, men and women, postdebate. but i would like to say i think there is still a significant gender gap. there has been a gender gap with women favoring democrats in every election since 1980.
there is one now. women are a majority of the voters. and they are a majority, i think at this point, of the undecided voters. and i thought there was a very interesting number in the "wall street journal" cbs-- sorry, "wall street journal"/nbc poll the other day, "who do you trust on issues of concern to women?" 53 obama, 25 mitt romney. and i think one thing that that reflects is that kind of peripheral but debates we've had during the course of the election about both rape and contraception. and so we recently had the senate candidate from indiana, richard murdoch, making some, i think, unfortunate remarks about how if a pregnancy results from rape the woman should continue it because that's god's intention. this points out the fundamental problem, i think, that the republican party has when it comes to dealing with abortion. they can have one of two positions. either the republican party platform position, which is no
abortion in any casees, rape or incest, which is rejected as extreme. or you can have the mitt romney position in which allows for exceptions. in which case you say, but if abortion is the take of a human life, if the fetus is a person from the moment of conception, why is the method of conception matter? and i think the republicans are going to continue to get themselves tied up in this. >> sure, there are lots of unforced errors here. abortion is an important issue. but it's not the primary issue most people volt on. >> didn't say that. >> in 2010, you had a lot of the same, contraceptions and other rhetoric, and the republicans won the congressional vote in 2010 among women. now, i do believe women care about this issue. they care on both sides of the issue. women are roughly half pro-life and half pro-choice. the real question, there are 600,000 fewer women work today than there were in january 2009. so for a lot of women, they also care about vagu having a job.
>> men and women care about having jobs, and i think women are, of course, on both sides of the abortion debate. but i think that the reason the abortion/contraception debate is more salient now than it was in 2010 is, first of all, that's a different midterm electorate. but also, women can understand having a debate about should there be abortion rights? should there not be abortion rights? i think they coil at being told they have to continue awe pregnancy if raped. they recoil. issues on contraception. it's not the primary voting issue, but to the extent these are undecided voter voters and this sort of meas mais in the air of are the republicans too extreme on these issues? that becomes problematic. >> aiken is within two percentage points. >> that is not true. >> we're cherry picking points. >> this is the last thing the romney campaign wants to be talking about, rape, contraception, even abortion at this point. i think, look, richard murdoch,
todd aikin forcessed this into the conversation. it wasn't there a week and a half ago. it wasn't there before-- it was certainly there but it wasn't the primary focus. the romney campaign wants to talk about the economy. ern talks about the denver debate as being this transcendent moment. in effect, this was the moment moderate mitt sort of debuted in the campaign. and i think that was a very resonant point to a lot of undecide women. >> people don't vote nationally on the basis of what two candidates say in two medium-sized debates. >> here's the way i think it mates out politically. first of all, there's the base. the president wants to talk aboutars bothers because he wants to tell democrats there are real things in stakes in this election. with swing voters-- and i talked to a lot of them-- when you talk to women, they think romney has the answer on the economy. and the worry here for the obama administration is married women. they are less dependent on the government, and less likely to
buy the president's argument. so they're the group want obama campaign is really worried about. when i talk to the married women, on the one hand they say they think romney can handle the economy and they're worried about the republicans being too extreme and go back and forth. the romney campaign is trying to get them to drop this and think about this at the last minute. there are a small number of undecided voters -- and the question of trust. he was saying trust is a matter central to the presidency, measure important than anything else, and trying to tie that to this notion of romney changing his positions. that was also a pitch to women. romney's pitch, bipartisanship. >> schieffer: let me bring up this, a spent friday, spent a good part of the day with stu rothen bargain, and charlie cook, and i would these are the most respected analysts going today. both told me separately they could not remember a time this deep into the campaign when they said they had no idea how this
was going to come out. i want to go around the table, i'll start with you, bob. what do you think is going to happen? >> i think the president is going to win. he has a big advantage in the elect torral college and in terms of what john and ruth are saying, a republican, a friend of mine who ran republican campaigns, said they backed themselves into a demographic cul-de-sac, with women, hispanices, younger voters who are repeld by a lot of what they say on social issues. >> schieffer: you think it's obama? >> yes. >> i think independent voters continue to move away from the president because he has not been able to convince people the economy will be better in the next four years. and the president remeans under 50%. and-- >> he, doesn't, in many of the states. i'm sorry, john. you want to do the real-- in many of the states, in many-- it didn't. in many of the states he is at 50%. >> >> schieffer: i'm going to give the reporters on a pass. go ahead. >> i do believe we do have a danger, though, of going to recount. and i hope we can control the
passions exercised-- >> that's not a passion. if you want to get fact rul, that's all. >> and one of these days, i won't be interrupting you, but you will continue to interrupt me. >> yi will, when you're not fact rul, i will, actually. >> schieffer: 30 secondes, john. >> the president has demographic advantages and ground game advantages. the question is whether it allows him to hold back the romney surge that started after the denver debate and is waning and most analysts think has come to a standstill. the question is what the president builds up with his grouped game and advantages help him. >> schieffer: i have to stop right here. back in a second. thank you all a lot. ,,,,,,
♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪ >> schieffer: in today's world, when everyone comment on everything, even debate moderators get reviewed. so in the interest of full disclosure and fairness, we pass on the following, which is our "face the nation" flashback. >> the final presidential debate was held tonight, in boca raton, florida, and was moderated by
75-year-old bob schieffer from cbs news. that's right. ( laughter ) 75-year-old bob schieffer. yeah. 75 years old, or as florida residents call that, a 'tween. ( laughter ) when the ladies of boca got a look at bob, they're like, "who's the fresh meet?" i thought bob schieffer did a great job. before the debate bob schieffer instructed the audience not to clap for anything reason because in his house that makes the light go on and off. ( laughter ) woman, this is not bob schieffer's first time. he moderatedly the bush-kerry debates in 2004, and the lincoln-douglas debate in 1858. >> schieffer: in today's world, i can take that. we'll be right back with an update on hurricane sandy, stay with us. ,,,,,,,,
>> schieffer: we're back with david bernard from wfor fair final update on hurricane sandy. david. >> bob, we're looking at a really big storm here. this is the latest information just in from the hurricane center, and the storm is moving northeast at 14. it's about 500 miles south of new york city, and the track remains the same. we're looking at a landfall tomorrow night, early tuesday morning, somewhere between the long island sound and ocean city, maryland. and along just north of thereux there's going to be a tremendous storm surge. look at the size of the
hurricane. already those bands affecting portions of the east coast, really gigantic and the wind field with it is incredible. tropical storm-force winds by tomorrow morning will reach from boston all the way to wilmington, north carolina, and during the day tomorrowlet hur kaness-force wind gusts will overspread most of the i-95 corridor and those damaging winds are probably going to stick around right into tuesday. when we see those kinds of winds, bob, we're going to have to worry about widespread power outages and pay lot of do you understand trees as well. and on the coast, the coastal flooding could be quite severe. this is an enormous storm and one people need to take seriously. >> schieffer: thank you very much, dave. and we'll stay with you. we'll invite all of you to stay tuned to cbs news and cbsnews.com. we'll have the very latest on the storm. that's it for us here. we'll see you next week right here if the creeks don't rise on "face the nation"."